Article: Hepatitis B Virus Reactivation During Successful Treatment of Hepatitis C Virus with Sofosbuvir and Simeprevi

This article is being re-posted from a previous newsletter.  I have been hearing from patients who have been inquiring about treatment with a DAA and who are also co-infected with chronic hepatitis B.  People co-infected with HCV and HBV should make their medical providers aware that their chronic hepatitis B should be monitored on a regular basis.  The article below recommends that people being treated with a DAA should be monitored every 2 weeks.  -Alan

Snapshots - Alan Franciscus

Article:  Hepatitis B Virus Reactivation During Successful Treatment of Hepatitis C Virus with Sofosbuvir and Simeprevir—J. M. Collins et. Al
  Source:  Clinical Infectious Diseases Advance Access

Results and Conclusions: This was a case report of two individuals with hepatitis C. 

The first case was a 55 yo man who was coinfected with hepatitis B and hepatitis C genotype 1a.  He had been previously treated with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin but did not achieve a cure.  He was started on sofosbuvir and simeprevir.  After week 4 he was HCV undetectable, but at week 7 he started to have severe liver symptoms (AST of 1792 IU/L, ALT of 1495 IU/L, total bilirubin of 12.2 mg/dl and INR of 1.96) and his hepatitis B viral load rose to 22 million.  His other tests (antinuclear antibody, ferritin, a-fetoprotein, etc.) were also abnormal.

The HCV treatment was discontinued, and hepatitis B treatment (tenofovir/emtricitabine) was started and the hepatitis B viral load subsequently decreased to less than 20 IU/mL.  The hepatitis B treatment was continued for ongoing hepatitis B suppression.

The second case was a 57 yo man with HCV genotype 1a.  He had been treated for HCV with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin but had not been cured. He was positive for the hepatitis B virus, but the hepatitis B viral load was below the level of detection (20 IU/mL).  He was started on HCV treatment—sofosbuvir and simeprevir and his HCV and hepatitis B viral loads were monitored every two weeks.  After two weeks, his HCV viral load was undetectable and his hepatitis B viral load increased to 353 IU/mL.  After four weeks of HCV treatment, HCV was still undetectable, but the hepatitis B viral load increased to 11,255 IU/mL.  The liver function tests were normal, and there were no other signs of liver disease.  The patient remained on sofosbuvir/simeprevir treatment.  Tenofovir was added to the HCV treatment regime to treat hepatitis B. 

The Bottom Line:  The reactivation of HBV in people who were coinfected with HBV and HCV was rare in the days of pegylated interferon based therapies.  This was most likely because PEG works against HBV whereas the new HCV direct acting antivirals do not have antiviral properties that will suppress hepatitis B while treating HCV.   

Editorial Comment:  A couple of important points:

Labels: , , ,